10 Best Swing Sets | March 2017
- mesh cover keeps sand in sandbox
- has a wavy rock climbing wall
- bright green and yellow accents
- vinyl covered chains
- backed by 6-month warranty
- 105 pound weight limit per seat
- clubhouse has rigid hardtop roof
- uv resistant construction
- tower has an illuminating sky lamp
- platform accessible from 2 sides
- slide has safety hand rails
- has a challenging rope ladder
- available in three color options
- does not need to be anchored
- strong enough to support adults
|Model||Monkey bar playset|
- non-pinching ropes on the swings
- quality plastic won't deteriorate
- comes with 4 u-shaped anchors
- features ten-foot rocket slide
- built-in telescope on upper level
- sand box areas below the towers
If You Build It They Will Come
Many years ago, in what seems like a former life, I spent a mild summer assembling children's outdoor playsets with a husband and wife tandem. We also spent some days putting together large quantities of IKEA furniture for offices.
The work was steady and not too difficult, and the pay was good.
The one constant, though, was tedium. While it'd be unfair to say that putting the more beastly playsets together was really that difficult, it was both tedious and time consuming. On average, it would take the three of us–professionals by any definition–about 8 to 10 hours to get everything assembled and ready to go.
That time, I should note, did not include the leveling out of the ground, which is absolutely necessary to the successful build of a big playset, and which we always made the homeowners do before we got there.
If you own a few good tools, and you have a history of not losing your mind trying to assemble furniture, you can probably put one of these sets together yourself, and enlist a few friends if you can.
If you don't have the tools or you don't know how to use them, and if your friends are flaky in times like these, save yourself a week of agony and spring for a professional assembly.
A Good Fit For Your Kids
I'm willing to bet that, even if your yard could fit a playset as big as the one shown here, you wouldn't want the thing.
A person's individual aesthetic is bound to recoil at the sight of any set that crosses the line from point of pride to monstrosity.
Where that line is drawn is going to be different for everyone, and if you have acres and acres of land on which to build, your line might be closer to something the size of Camelot than the size of a milk crate.
You'll also want to think about durability when selecting a set. Most of the more elaborate sets are made of wood, and the lasting power of some woods is greater than others. The plastic sets out there vary wildly in quality, but if you see it's made of High Density Polyethylene, or HDPE, you can expect a quality build.
Without too many exceptions, the size and durability of a playset are the primary factors determining its cost, so if you have a specific budget, much of the selection process will have been done for you.
You'll want something that fits both your back yard and your bank account, and something that will last. Once you've narrowed it down by those criteria, honestly, you ought to let your kids decide.
Centuries of Swing
As far back as 1450 BCE, we know there were swings. This headless, handless sculpture of a girl on a swing comes to us from the ancient Greek area known as Hagia Triada.
It makes sense, doesn't it? There is something so pleasing at an almost primal level about swinging on a swing, about flying forward and up just until the very point where you might lose control.
Swings were later used in much more mobile ways than today, during the pioneer days of Manifest Destiny. When a caravan would stop to set up camp or hunt, the children were allowed to play but discouraged from roaming too far.
To encourage this, parents in those days would take a good piece of wood and some rope, find a suitable tree, and set up an impromptu swing set. When they left, they'd take it down and bring it with them for the next layover.
The belt swings of today, whose rubber or petroleum-based seats contour more comfortably to swingers' bodies, are safer and more durable than their wooden predecessors, and, depending on the chain used, they can support hundreds of pounds. Also, splinters down there? No, thanks.
Is there another innovation in swinging around the corner? If there is, it's probably nothing too drastic. After all, not much has changed in swings for around 3500 years.